Archive of films Daybreak Express / Daybreak Express

1953, 5 min

Section: Forum of Independents - Competition
Year: 2006

A short film about a New York express train inspired by Duke Ellington’s record Daybreak Express. A 5-minute masterpiece.


Short film about a New York express train inspired by Duke Ellington’s record Daybreak Express. A 5 minute masterpiece. “I wanted to make a film about this filthy, noisy train and its packed-in passengers that would look beautiful, like the New York City paintings of John Sloan, and I wanted it to go with one of my Duke Ellington records, Daybreak Express. It took about three days to film, and then sat in a closet for several years until I figured out how to edit it and make a print that I could show on a projector. I took it to the Paris theater to see if they would run it. By pure chance it ended up with the Alec Guiness comedy The Horse’s Mouth, which ran there for nearly a year. Since I had a large collection of jazz records, I figured I’d found a way to break into the film business with music films, and it did get me started, but I was never able to make another film like Daybreak.” D. A. Pennebaker

About the director

D. A. Pennebaker (b. 1925, Evanston, Illinois, USA) director, cinematographer, editor and producer, is widely regarded as one of the pioneers of cinéma-vérité filmmaking. Daybreak Express (1953), Brussels Loops (1957), Lambert, Hendricks&Co. (1964), Hier Strauss (1965), Don’t Look Back (1967), Monterey Pop (1968), Little Richard: Keep On Rockin’ (1969), Original Cast Album-Company (1970), One P. M. (1972), Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars (1973), Energy War (1977), Town Bloody Hall (1979), DeLorean (1981), Rockaby (1983), Jimi Plays Monterey (1986), Shake!: Otis at Monterey (1987), 101 (1989), Jimi Hendrix Live (1989), The Music Tells You (1992), The War Room (1993), Keine Zeit (1996), Moon Over Broadway (1997), Down from the Mountain (2000), Only the Strong Survive (2002).


Pennebaker Hegedus Films
, , New York
United States of America
Tel: +1 212 496 9195
Fax: +1 212 496 8195
E-mail: [email protected]

About the film

Color, 35 mm

Section: Forum of Independents - Competition
Director: D.A. Pennebaker
Screenplay: D. A. Pennebaker
Dir. of Photography: D. A. Pennebaker
Music: Duke Ellington
Editor: D. A. Pennebaker
Producer: D. A. Pennebaker
Production: Pennebaker Hegedus Films
Contact: Pennebaker Hegedus Films


D.A. Pennebaker

Film Director

Tanja Meding



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